Owls run all over Bulls in win

Temple Football had 621 yards from scrimmage in a 54-28 win over the University of South Florida on Saturday.

Temple graduate receiver Jose Barbon catches a pass in Temple's 54-28 win over Wagner. | ROBERT JOSEPH CRUZ / THE TEMPLE NEWS

Questions surrounding Temple Football’s running back position depth chart were answered by redshirt sophomore Edward Saydee play in the Owls’ game against the Bulls. Saydee had 334 all-purpose yards on the day, the fourth-most by a Temple player in a game all-time. 

“There was a lot of space for me,” Saydee said. “It was a different type of game for us.”

Temple Football (3-6, 1-4 The American Athletic Conference) defeated the University of South Florida (1-8, 0-5 The American) 54-28 on Saturday afternoon. Temple’s Saydee averaged 11 yards per rush on Saturday and had three touchdowns, breaking tackles on almost every one of his runs from scrimmage. 

Entering the game with 277 yards on the ground, Saydee rushed for 265 this game, including a 75-yard touchdown on the first play from scrimmage in the second half and a 40-yard touchdown later in the third quarter. Saydee also had a 61-yard screen catch and run to close out the third quarter. 

Saydee exploited a weak USF rush defense, becoming the first Temple rusher to hit 200-plus yards on the ground in a game since former Temple running back Ryquell Armstead rushed for 210 against the University of Houston on Nov. 10, 2018. 

Last season against the Bulls, the Owls gave up 421 yards on the ground, resulting in a 34-14 loss on Oct. 23. This season, while neither team reached the 400-yard rushing mark, both teams hit 250 yards on the ground. USF’s leading rusher was sophomore running back Brian Battie, who had 129 yards. 

For Temple’s defense, redshirt sophomore Jordan Magee had 11 tackles, six of which came on the very first defensive drive. Sophomore Alex Odom had eight tackles and one interception. Redshirt sophomore Yvandy Rigby, who entered the game tied for the team lead alongside Magee with 50 tackles, added another eight. This included a key clip of Battie’s feet in the second quarter to prevent a kickoff return for a touchdown. 

Temple came out with a fast-paced offense on their first two drives, with Warner finding graduate receiver Jose Barbon on four different occasions for 55 yards on the initial few plays. 

However, a lack of discipline up front hindered Temple’s momentum on both drives, leading to two Temple field goals after reaching the red zone. Owls’ graduate offensive lineman Adam Klein was called for two false starts and had a high snap preventing potential touchdowns. False starts were a problem all game for the Owls, who finished with seven offensive penalties against them. 

Near the end of the half, the Owls reached the red zone a third time, kicking a field goal for their third score to make the contest 9-7 in Temple’s favor. After a quick three-and-out, the Owls got the ball back and pounded the rock with Saydee. The drive was capped with a four-yard rush for a score by redshirt freshman Darvon Hubbard, making it 16-7 Owls. 

The first half saw Saydee rush for 104 yards on 14 attempts and Warner pass for 143 yards on a 74 percent completion rate. Barbon had six catches for 71 yards. Offensive coordinator Danny Langsdorf utilized unique draw plays, screens and slant concepts to find open receivers early and often. The schemes allowed for Warner to make easy throws, acclimating him to the game. 

Warner finished with 344 yards through the air, finding Barbon for a 21-yard touchdown and redshirt senior receiver Sanders for an 8-yard touchdown in the fourth quarter. This was Warner’s first 300-yard passing day in his career. 

“We just had to go out there and execute,” Warner said. “I thought we did a good job of that today.”

USF junior wide receiver Xavier Weaver won his one-on-one matchups with Temple redshirt freshman cornerback Jalen McMurray, hauling in six catches for 119 yards and two touchdowns from USF sophomore quarterback Katravis Marsh. However, their performance was not enough, as the Owls had several more splash plays than the Bulls, forcing three turnovers, including a forced fumble and recovery by McMurray. 

“There’s no give in with this unit at all,” said head coach Stan Drayton. “They’ve always come to work willing to grow. This really does feel good for them to get a win.”

The Owls head to John O’Quinn Field at TDECU Stadium to take on the University of Houston Cougars (5-3, 3-1 The American) at 3 p.m. on Nov. 12.

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